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6 Mobile Trends to Watch

There will be 1.4 billion smartphones in use worldwide by the end of 2013. This means that there will be one smartphone for every five people in the world. With mobile Internet usage also set to increase by an estimated 66% each year over the next five years, we list six mobile trends to watch as a small business.

1.  Fast, mobile optimized websites
Mobile optimized websites are becoming more common, and a recent report from Compuware said that:

  • 74% of consumers will wait 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the site.
  • 46% of consumers are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during their last visit.
  • 71% of mobile users expect web pages to load almost as quickly as, or faster than, web pages on their desktop computers.

Customers should have a positive mobile experience on a website no matter which device they are using. Ideally, a website would take between one to three seconds to load on mobile.

For your mobile website, you should remove any unnecessary information and distractions and only present the information that is actually needed by the consumer. This will help reduce your website load time. With more people accessing websites on their phone or tablet, businesses must have a fast, mobile optimized website.

2.  Mobile optimized content
With consumers accessing websites on smaller screens, mobile optimized content is becoming commonplace. Three ways you can optimize content for mobile devices are:

  • Clear call-to-actions (CTAs) – With real estate on the screen limited, the main CTA should be large in size as well as a prominent color.
  • Short forms – You will see a trend toward simple short forms, 5-6 fields are the maximum recommended when optimizing for mobile visitors. Filling in forms on a mobile device is extremely cumbersome, so by paring them down, you can improve conversion rates.
  • Larger clickable areas – The optimal clickable area for most phones is 44×44 pixels, and clickable content should have large enough spaces between them in order to be more finger friendly and to avoid mis-clicks.

3.  Click-to-call
With research showing that 61% of users want to be able to click-to-call a business on their mobile site, more and more businesses will begin to prominently display their phone numbers on their websites.

The click-to-call functionality has been embraced on websites themselves but is also being used in mobile advertising to reach customers on the move. Businesses are able to directly attribute the leads received from their advertising efforts by the number of calls they have received. Comcast has used click-to-call functionality in their online advertising, and they now find that mobile drives more than 10% of their online sales.

4.  Mobile friendly email marketing
It’s not only websites that are going mobile, email marketing is too. With 64% of decision-makers reading their email via mobile devices, you will be seeing a trend toward responsive design in email.

Before optimizing your email marketing campaigns for mobile, take a look to see what percentage of your users are opening emails on a mobile device and also what devices they’re opening on. Once you know this, you can optimize your email campaigns for those specific devices.

Test to see how your emails look on your own phone and also try clicking through on them to see what the mobile experience is like for your customers.

There are a few easy steps you can take to make your email more mobile friendly including:

  • Keep the “from” line simple and clear.
  • Limit your subject line to under 35 characters.
  • Make sure your emails have a maximum width of 600px (595px to be safe).
  • Ensure your buttons are at least 44px square, so they are easy to tap.
  • Use a single column stacked layout instead of multiple columns.

5.  Apps winning out over mobile websites
A report from Compuware suggests that consumer preference is strongly in favour of apps (85%) ahead of mobile sites. This is because they are seen as more convenient, faster and easier to browse.

Although the data is strongly in favor of apps, it is still a topic that is being strongly debated and does not mean that you should have an app developed immediately. If you are a business consultant or realtor, it is unlikely you will need an app at all and a mobile website will suffice (see our website templates for realtors). However, if you are a web service, an app could be highly beneficial.

Social Media Apps
6.  Personalization
With consumers now browsing the Web on a smartphone, there will be an increase in personalization with content aimed at you, the individual. Google Now for example, which is available within the Google Search mobile application for the Android and iOS operating systems, will deliver information to you based on previous search habits.

The aim is to provide you with the most relevant information from what it has learnt from you. Yes, advertising will learn from your phone use. This information will then be used to predict your next move and proactively provide you with services (e.g. custom menus in restaurants that exclude foods you don’t like or have allergies to). It may seem a little creepy, but that’s what we originally thought about targeted Internet and email ads, mobile will be the next progression.

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